Judge Clifton Nembhard

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Tenant Woods moved to vacate a default judgment entered after inquest, and dismiss landlord’s petition for an alleged failure to serve same on NYCHA. Alternatively, she sought leave to file an answer and counterclaims in this holdover proceeding in which landlord sought possession of the premises from the Section 8 tenant, who failed to answer or appear, thus, judgment was granted to landlord. Woods now argued she had an excusable default and meritorious defense warranting vacatur of the default judgment noting she was told by landlord’s agent she did not have to appear as she was paying the rent. She also claimed the proceeding was defective as landlord failed to inform NYCHA of the proceeding pursuant to the Williams Consent Decree. Landlord denied the claims arguing no one informed Woods not to appear, and that NYCHA was properly informed as the petition was mailed to NYCHA, attaching an affidavit of service indicating service by certified mail. Yet, the Decree required service by either state law or overnight mail. The court ruled as landlord failed to serve NYCHA in accordance with the Decree, Woods had a meritorious defense, and a triable issue existed if Woods was directed not to appear in court. Thus, Woods’ motion was granted and the judgment vacated.